Dozens looking to make changes on Knox County Commission

By: Rob Pratt Email
By: Rob Pratt Email

Knox Co. (WVLT) - The Knox County Commission has fewer members and more controversy than at any time in recent memory, still dozens of people want to run for a seat.

After term limits and court rulings, eleven of 19 commissioners remain.
But will next year's elections make the commission any more civil?
Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt went looking for the answer:

Real answers won't come until after elections take place in February and August.
Candidates who want to run have to file papers by Thursday.
But can anyone or anything really change this commission?

The Knox County Commission has become a breeding ground for controversy and disagreement. Public opinion of the commission is equally divided.

Paul Thornton says, "They're supposed to take care of what the people want, but that ain't gonna happen."

But Larry Leftwich disagrees: "Eventually, in time, they'll get everything worked out."

Political Analyst Mike Cohen says, "You look at everything that's going on right now, and it's hard to see when things are going to get substantially better."

Mike Cohen is a veteran observer of local politics, having worked in the County Mayor's office and now as a public relations consultant. He says the commission's problems have more to do with the personalities involved than with any real disagreements about the government. How will the story end? That's up to you - the voter.

"The ultimate result of this, if it results in more people getting engaged, getting active and voting, that will make government better." Cohen says.

Making the county commission better is the stated goal of a non-partisan group that's trying to find and fund good candidates.
The Public Trust Political Action Committee is led by former Knox County Executive Tommy Schumpert: "Our group is trying to help with the funding side of the campaign, with the people we feel like can make a difference and will make a good candidate."

But will any effort really make things more civil? Will there ever again be any consensus on the county commission?

"That depends on the individuals and their agendas, and their leadership skills, that will be in there come next September." Schumpert says.

If you want to learn more about who's running or the election process, click on the link below.

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